All lockout procedures should be documented and identify the equipment covered, detailing specific steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking, and securing equipment to control hazardous energy. Make sure you document primary and secondary energy sources, the procedures to follow plus the process to bring the equipment back online.

Continuously improve your program. Conduct periodic inspections to help ensure the program is running smoothly and effectively.

Your lockout / tagout procedures outlines the steps necessary to disable machinery or equipment that could release hazardous energy or start unexpectedly during servicing or maintenance activities.

Lockout / Tagout Program

  • Written documentation outlining your Lockout / Tagout program and policies. You’ll want to review this on an annual basis to make sure it effectively protects your employees, identifies the equipment correctly and has the correct procedure for shutting down or restarting the equipment.
  • All lockout procedures should be documented and identify the equipment covered, detailing specific steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking, and securing equipment to control hazardous energy. Make sure you document primary and secondary energy sources, the procedures to follow plus the process to bring the equipment back online.
  • All energy control points, that is the valves, switches, breakers and plugs, need to be marked with permanently placed labels or tags.
  • Train employees to the level needed and required on lockout/tagout procedures. Make sure your training covers OSHA requirements as well as your own specific program requirements. This training should include machine specific LOTO procedures to ensure that energies are controlled during maintenance or service, and retraining to maintain proficiency.
  • Establish communication procedures that will inform employees affected when maintenance is going to be performed, machines/equipment may be shut down and the details they need to know. For instance, affected employees need to be notified of things such as: timing of work, how long equipment will be unavailable.
  • Continuously improve your program. Conduct periodic inspections to help ensure the program is running smoothly and effectively.

Lockout / Tagout Procedures

A lockout / tagout procedure should include the following six steps:

Step 1: Preparation
The authorized employee must investigate and gain an understanding of all types of hazardous energy that might be controlled. You should also identify the specific hazards and means for controlling that energy.

An authorized employee is defined as the person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment.

Step 2: Shut Down
This is the actual process of powering down and locking out machines and equipment that will be serviced or maintained. Be sure to let any employee affected by the shutdown know what is happening whether or not they will play a role in the service or maintenance.

Step 3: Isolation
After powering down, it’s time to isolate the machine or equipment from any source of energy (i.e., turning off the power at a breaker, shutting a valve, etc.).

Step 4: Lockout / Tagout
After isolating the equipment, it’s time to actually lock and tag out the machine. This means, the authorized employee will attach lockout / tagout devices to each energy isolating device. You want to apply the lockout device so it stays in the “safe” position and can only be switched to the “unsafe” position by the person performing the lockout/tagout. The tag (i.e., tagout) includes the name of the person who performed the lockout and additional information.

Step 5: Stored Energy Check
There’s no guarantee that disconnecting the energy source and locking out the machines means there’s no hazardous energy still stored within the machine or even that It’s safe to service the machines. This means you need to check for any hazardous energy that’s been stored within the machine or residual energy. Anything like this must be relieved, disconnected, restrained or made non-hazardous.

Step 6: Isolation Verification
Time to make sure machines are shut down and isolated from their source of power. You’ve locked them out and checked for hazardous stored energy. Time to double check all of your steps and that it is safe to work on the equipment. This will be done by an authorized employee

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